ASRock Z790 Taichi review
Will the Intel Taichi make a great impression this time?
The ASRock Z790 Taichi motherboard is a new addition to the ASRock series that has previously been featured on guru3d. This motherboard is based on the Intel Z790 chipset, which is one of 14 manufacturers' models using this chipset. It is an upgrade from the Z690 and Z590 chipset and has previously received "Approved" and "Recommended" awards. The Z790 Taichi offers DDR5 support and is an affordable option compared to other brandsin the ASRock lineup such as the Steel Legend, LiveMixer, Pro, and PG Riptide/Lighting/Sonic. There is also a variant of the Z790 Taichi, known as the Z790 Taichi Carrara, which features a partially white design and comes with a bundled 120mm fan with a speed range of 800-2500 rpm. The question remains, will the new iteration of the Taichi series receive positive reviews again?
When looking at the overall specs, the ASRock Z790 Taichi isn’t much different from its predecessor. Still, the price difference is in an entirely unexpected direction, as it dropped to 479.99 USD (and that’s a move in the right direction, not like it was when a jump occurred between Z590 and Z690, where it increased from 459.99 USD to 589.99 USD). It is considerably less than, for example, the Asus Maximus Z790 Hero, which costs 630 USD. This is a 30.5 x 26.7 cm product, an E-ATX form factor. ASRock Z790 Taichi uses an (almost all) black design on an all-black PCB. There are cog/gear accents visible again (with a few gold elements). We must admit that it still looks good again (like the predecessors). It’s equipped with the Z790 chipset and offers such features as a 24-phase power design (an upgrade vs. 20-phases in the Z690 Taichi), 2.5 Gigabit Ethernet, two Thunderbolt ports (40 Gbps), and a built-in WiFi module. There’s an upgrade in the audio department, where the mid-tier Realtek ALC1220 codec has been replaced with the ALC4082 (which fits better to the motherboard of this segment). Also, the number of USB Type-A ports at the rear panel has increased from a mediocre 6 to a superb 10. Another (very) significant change is the number of M.2 slots, this time, it’s not (only) three, but it’s five (that’s good!). So based on only those changes – ASRock has made a considerable improvement, and it probably also listened (?) to our remarks for the Z690 Taichi model.
As for features that would make it stand out from other Z790 products (from other manufacturers), that would probably be (again, like in the Z690 model) the design with cogs/gear and the Thunderbolt ports. The ASRock Z790 Taichi includes three full-length PCIe slots. The top two slots support PCIe 5.0 x16 and x8/x8; the third slot is PCIe 4.0 x16 (x4 mode). One Ethernet controller on this board is a Realtek Killer E3100G with 2.5 Gbe support. The wireless connection has Killer AX1675x WiFi, an 802.11ax WiFi 6E Module, and supports IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n/ax.There are five M.2 Sockets for your SSDs: one supports PCIe Gen5 x4, and the rest are Gen4 x4. You also get eight SATA ports (but when the PCIE3 is occupied – SATA3_0-4 are disabled). As for the audio, you get the Realtek® ALC4082 codec with ESS SABRE9218 DAC for Front Panel Audio (130dB SNR). The power section is really good, as it’s a 24-phase design that should help handle even the most demanding CPUs, such as the Core i9 13900K or the i7 13700K. Premium 105A Power Chokes aid it with the help of premium memory alloy choke (Reduces 70% core loss compared to iron power choke) and Nichicon 12K black caps (100% Japan-made high-quality conductive polymer capacitors). So what does Z790 mean in reality? Four memory slots support up to 128 GB, a total of DDR5-7000 (not 6400 like in the Z690 Taichi). There is some good information for RGB fans: one regular (12V) RGB LED header and three addressable (5V) RGB LED headers. Onboard power and reset buttons are located in the bottom right; a two-digit LED debugger sits on the left side. Lighting can be synchronized using the ASRock Polychrome SYNC software.
Z790 is the enthusiast chipset from Intel, and this motherboard is powered by it. Intel delivered its interpretation of the term BIG.little in the Alder and Raptor Lake CPUs. The new processors have energy and performance cores to balance power consumption in idle and load conditions. The new P- and E-core design places more demands on the operating system to delegate duties more dynamically, necessitating the development of a motherboard power supply circuit that can react quickly to changes in load. You can see the 24-phase power design in the ASRock, which should help in real life. We’ll check this Z790 motherboard with a Core i9 13900K and take it through our benchmark paces for this review. The board is positioned in the high-end market segment and looks very nice. Let’s have a closer look at it, then, ok?